As part of its 80th anniversary, the Willmar-based Jennie-O Turkey Store will celebrate in a spectacular way by having a float in the 94th annual event on Nov. 26. It’s the first time a turkey brand will be in the parade, according to a Macy’s parade spokesperson. Because of COVID-19, the traditional live broadcast of the parade is being retooled with a decreased number of participants and the production staged specifically for a television audience.
Dubbed the Big Turkey Spectacular, the float will showcase the company that was started eight decades ago in west central Minnesota by the Earl B. Olson family. Many of the Jennie-O turkeys are raised in this area, with two processing facilities and a corporate office located in Willmar.
When planning ways to celebrate its 80th anniversary, the company decided to think big and display unapologetic pride in its turkeys and the people who raise them, process them and sell them, said Nicole Behne, vice president of marketing for the Jennie-O Turkey Store. Being in a parade on a day when the turkey is featured on many tables is a natural fit for the Jennie-O Turkey Store.
We could not be more excited, said Behne, in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. The company had to submit an application and be interviewed before being accepted in the parade lineup, which includes a commitment to have a float in the parade for three years. The Jennie-O inaugural float is being made in New Jersey. Behne said they are working with the Macy’s parade organization on the talent and costumes for the float and they expect to make an announcement early next month naming the key entertainer on the float.